Flying for the Holidays? This Carrier Has the Best 5G Coverage at the Major U.S. Airports




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Girl on Phone

T-Mobile once again topped its rivals when offering the best 5G service at the busiest airports in the U.S., according to communications data firm Opensignal. 

Overall, T-Mobile ranked ahead of AT&T and Verizon at 20 airports for consistent service quality in Opensignal’s study. Customers noted fewer dropped calls, faster load times, and better streaming than competitor networks. The Un-Carrier also ranked above other mobile providers when comparing the fastest download speeds, network availability, and consistent service quality.

“There is nothing more important than staying connected while traveling, said Ulf Ewaldsson, president of technology at T-Mobile. “Whether you need to shop for any lingering deals, download a last-minute movie, or, more importantly, let your loved ones know where you are, your phone should simply work.”

The gap between the carriers, however, has shrunk. Verizon and AT&T’s upgrade efforts had been slowed by concerns expressed by the Federal Aviation Association, which was concerned the new C-Band spectrum the two carriers planned to deploy would interfere with radio altimeters in planes.

Verizon and AT&T agreed to delay launching their 5G rollouts around airports until July due to the concerns. The FAA set July 1 as the deadline for air carriers to upgrade altimeters to ensure no interference. By September, the entire U.S. airline fleet had upgraded to 5G C-band tolerant radio altimeters, leading the FAA to say that the risk of interference had been “mitigated.”

Image credit: Opensignal

Since deploying 5G, AT&T has seen a 30.4% increase in download speeds, while Verizon saw a 22.1% boost. Opensignal showed only a 5.7% increase for T-Mobile and noted “no statistically significant improvement” for its 5G download speeds. Still, T-Mobile customers saw higher overall download speeds, averaging 174.5 Mbps in August, compared to Verizon’s 132.2 Mbps and AT&T’s 126.9 Mbps. 

The addition of C-Band spectrum is making a difference for AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile’s download speeds were 2.4 times faster than AT&T’s and 2.1 times faster than Verizon’s before 5G C-band rolled out. Now that the companies can access their full range spectrum, T-Mobile’s lead shrunk to 32% faster than AT&T and 37.5% faster than Verizon.

Opensignal collected data for 90 days from April 1 to August 1 within two miles of the center points of Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall, Boston Logan, Charlotte-Douglas, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Las Vegas Harry Reid, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, New York, JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Newark Liberty, Orlando, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Ronald Reagan Washington National, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle-Tacoma airports.

Image credit: Opensignal

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